Reducing greenhouse gas emissions with District Energy
District Energy (DE) systems distribute thermal energy, in the form of steam, heated or cooled water, through a network of pipes. DE is used for space heating and cooling, and providing hot water for use in buildings.
DE systems help to conserve energy through improved efficiency over conventional heating and cooling systems. Also, with the help of DE, we can achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by using clean renewable energy sources.
DE systems are compatible with a wide range of renewable energy sources. The DE system uses thermal energy to heat water. Then, the water is distributed to customers through a dedicated pipe network — at either a low temperature (15 to 20 degrees Celsius) or a high temperature (above 60 degrees Celsius). The heat from the water is then used directly to heat dwellings or other spaces through heat exchangers. Or, the water is transferred to the local building heating/cooling system through a heat pump.
Establishing District Energy systems across the City
Staff have completed DE studies throughout the City, and are moving quickly to establish DE systems in areas of new development.
Most recently, Council approved the District Energy System By-law (Website. New window.) which includes the requirement for all City Centre developments of a certain size to be fully compatible for DE connection.
The related Early Adopters Policy will provide time-limited financial assistance to help offset the additional costs. The following corporate reports have been approved by council:
- CR R123 (PDF.New window) - City Centre District Energy System By-law and Related Financial Assistance Policy (2012)
- CR R070 (PDF.New window) - Financing for a District Energy System in Surrey City Centre - Surrey City Energy (2011)
- CR R069 (PDF.New window) - Surrey District Energy System Utility - Governance and Branding (2011)
- CR R013 (PDF.New window) - District Energy System - City Centre Area (2011)
- CR R109 (PDF.New window) - District Energy Heating System - Surrey City Centre (2010)
Using District Energy at New City Hall
Surrey's New City Hall will incorporate a DE system, based on an underground geo-exchange field, which uses heat pumps to extract the energy stored in the ground. This system will provide energy to heat and cool City Hall and adjacent buildings, and will be able to connect with future DE systems in the area.
Considering sustainability in the District Energy System
By implementing a District Energy System in the City, we're supporting the following parts of our Sustainability Charter:
- EC8: Energy Security: by promoting the use of low-impact, renewable energy sources and promoting community energy solutions;
- EN1: Energy Efficiency: by incorporating alternative energy systems, such as geo-exchange and solar heating systems for city facilities;
- EN2: Waste Reduction: by potentially introducing waste to energy conversion opportunities;
- EN10: Integrated Community Energy Master Plans: by developing an Integrated Community Energy Master Plan for the City Centre, and by working with private property owners to promote upgrades and retrofits that increase building energy efficiency, such as through the connection to a district energy system;
- EC8: Increase Energy Security: by the provision of a DE system that is potentially fuelled from a sustainable fuel source such as waste.
Supporting District Energy is part of the City’s effort to reduce GHG emissions in Surrey – track our progress on the Sustainability Dashboard!
Learning more about District Energy
Discover other examples of local district energy utilities and learn more about district energy through
- Canadian District Energy Association (Website. New window.)
- International District Energy Association (Website. New window.)
- Fortis BC (Website. New window.)
- BC Hydro (Website. New window.)
- City of North Vancouver’s Lonsdale Energy Corporation (LEC) (Website. New window.)
- City of Vancouver’s Southeast False Creek Neighbourhood Energy Utility (SEFC NEU) (Website. New window.)
If you have any questions or comments about how Surrey's pursuing District Energy systems, contact Jason Owen at JOwen@surrey.ca.